Newstips: Southside AIDS Group at 25 & Other Stories from the Local Reporting Initiative

Betty Smith was a respiratory therapist who was tired of seeing AIDS patients treated as pariahs when she founded the South Side Help Center in 1987.

She started by reaching out to African American ministers. When many were “hesitant,” she started going to their wives.

Today the South Side Health Center offers HIV testing, education and outreach programs along with myriad community services like youth mentoring and substance abuse counseling. The group is also dedicated to fostering other, younger community groups.

The group is turning 25 this year, and it’s featured in Windy City Times’ AIDS At 30 series, part of the Chicago Community Trust’s Local Reporting Initiative and the subject of one of several new posts at the Community News Project blog.

There’s the story of “Nina,” the first woman in the WINGS program of Cook County’s new prostitution court, profiled by Sarah Ostman at Gapers Block. And there are lots of stories of residents of Southwest Side communities collected by the Southwest Neighborhood Youth Writers Project. Check it out.


This post was taken from Community Media Workshop’s Newstips blog, written by Curtis Black. Visit the Newstips blog for more stories from Chicago’s diverse communities.

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